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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX


Part II:  The Nature of the Forbidden Fruit

Chapter 3

The Testimony of Scripture

     THERE IS some evidence for a kind of unwritten law that the first mention of a word or a circumstance in the Bible provides a special insight into its meaning elsewhere. The first mention of the grapevine by name, is in Genesis 9:20 where it is recorded that Noah planted one and later on became drunk. The immediate consequence was that he indecently exposed himself. It seems to me a remarkable circumstance that both Adam and Noah, who stood with respect to mankind in a somewhat analogous position, should have become naked in a way that brought a sense of shame. This could be a pure coincidence, of course, but there might also be some justification for arguing that the same fruit may have been involved in both cases.
     Throughout Scripture nakedness and the drinking of wine are linked together (cf. Lamentations 4:21; Habbakuk 2:15). This is very natural because the action of alcohol upon the body is such that vasodilatation is stimulated so that more blood flows near the surface of the skin. The redness of a man's face and neck after over-indulgence results from this physiological reaction. The effect of this vasodilatation is to bring the deep body temperature to the skin surface where the nerves which register the sensation of heat are located. The consequence is that a certain excess of alcohol has the ultimate effect of making a man feel too warm, and if this feeling persists and social restraints are weakened the subject is likely to remove his clothes to obtain relief. The end result is that the total body temperature is lowered, the heat having been lost from the surface. Chill results when it is cool.
     In the story in Genesis 3 we are told that after eating this fruit Adam and Eve both "discovered" that they were naked in such a way that they became ashamed. There are several ways of interpreting this. One is to say that they always had been naked but that the

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poison in the fruit made them aware of their own bodies because of the sensation of chill which they now experienced for the first time. Possibly this was the beginning of self-consciousness. It should be noted that the temperature of the environment was specifically mentioned in the verse which follows (verse 8). Perhaps up until now metabolism had been so perfectly adjusted that there was no awareness of the diurnal temperature changes, because if the skin surface was cooled, the body automatically generated more heat to neutralize the effect, and vice versa. I do not think that in the heat of the day there was any sweating, though there probably was insensible perspiration. The phenomenon of sweat, as an excretion of waste products, does not seem to have appeared until afterwards. It thus seems that the details of what took place when Adam and Eve introduced this poison into their bodies certainly do not tell against our theory, and indeed are illuminated by it.
     Another interpretation is that their bodies were originally clothed with light so that their nakedness was not apparent though they did not actually wear clothes. Psalm 104:2 may reflect this circumstance, since man was made in the image of God. This would satisfy the requirements of Genesis 2:25. There is some evidence even yet for this garment of light. It was destroyed almost but not quite completely by the poison, for in moments of great spiritual enlightenment it may be recovered as it was in the case of Moses.
     As the nakedness of Adam and Eve was covered by God (Genesis 3:21), so the nakedness of Noah was covered by his sons (Genesis 9:23). In a real way neither Adam nor Noah was able to properly cover themselves
    Scripture attaches great importance to the spiritual implications of a "covering." This is illustrated, for example, in the covering which a woman's hair provides for her (1 Corinthians 11:15) and which in a special way a man's hair provided when he had taken the Nazirite vow. Anyone who took this vow was given the following instructions (Numbers 6:3-6):

     He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar
of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
     All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even
to the husk.
     All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled,
in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
     All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.

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     Here we have a list of requirements which must be fulfilled together, and they are most explicit. We know from the New Testament that hair has the significance of a "natural" covering so that there is a linking together in Numbers 6:3-6 of the poison from the vine, a natural covering, and death. The Nazirite was to abstain from the vine, to preserve the only natural covering the body now has, and to have no contact with death. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve took of the vine, lost their natural covering (which may have been a garment of light), and became as good as dead.
     In Judges 13, we are given a story which is full of light on this theme. It is the story of Samson. Samson had taken this vow (Judges 16:17). It was not possible for him to prove that he had sworn to serve the Lord in a special way merely by saying that he had never touched alcohol, and had never come near a dead body. What was needed was a continuing and manifest testimony, and this existed in his long hair. The other two details of his vow could in a way be performed in secret and became a kind of private testimony. Samson knew well enough that his strength in the Lord depended not upon his secret testimony but upon the outward evidence, which he showed plainly and without shame to all men.
     Everyone knows that Samson was brought low by his subservience to a Philistine woman. But what really broke his relationship with the Lord was the loss of his hair. This was symbolical. He had no sooner lost his natural covering than he lost also his great physical strength. Deeds which he might have done before effortlessly, he now laboured to perform. He was taken into bondage by the enemy, his vision was gone, he literally ate his bread by the sweat of his brow. He was fettered with chains of brass, a metal which elsewhere in Scripture speaks of the judgment of God. This is all a remarkable allegory, as well as being sober history. These things happened to Adam also.
     But this is not all. When we turn back to his parents, we find that they too have a story to tell. The promise of this "heroic" son was given to his father (Manoah) and his mother in Judges 13. What is significant in this context is the list of instructions regarding her behaviour prior to his birth. She was explicitly told to drink no wine nor any strong drink.
    Today we have evidence of the reasonableness of this precaution. Dr. Sicard de Planzoles of Paris wrote in this connection:

     To menace the child, an accidental but slightly alcohol-influenced procreation is enough. This can result in deterioration of the germ and the

29. De Plauzoles, Sicard: quoted by Ernest Gordon in The Sunday School Times, July 25, 1953, p.644.

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birth of a weak, feeble, deficient child, tainted with nervous and mental trouble.
     During gestation, alcohol taken by the mother acts on the unborn child. During nursing, alcohol taken by the mother passes into her blood and intoxicates (i.e., poisons) the child.

    That is to say, alcohol reaches the germ seed, the embryo, and the suckling child, poisoning it at every stage. 
    But even supposing that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was a grape of some kind, in what circumstances could the juice of the grape generate a poison? And, would this poison be of such a nature as to influence the germ plasm and therefore reach through to the next generation, thus becoming inheritable? Furthermore, would such a poison affect only the male seed as we have hypothesized that it did? These assumptions are implicit in Judges 13 to some extent.
     That alcoholism is in some degree hereditary is argued strongly by many authorities. It appears that parents may become alcoholics, and by some means their children inherit a tendency in the same direction. It is widely held that in human beings the effects of alcoholism have indeed been transmitted according to Mendelian Law. Here, then, we have a special instance of an acquired characteristic that is inheritable. Bruce Bliven in the Smithsonian Institution Report for 1941 remarked, "When the son of a drunkard takes to drink, it is possible that his genes are involved."
(30) This is a case where the sins of the fathers may be visited upon the children.
    We can, however, go one step further. There are some remarkable instances in which the influence of the father, but not of the mother, is clearly indicated. In his book Alcohol and the Human Body Sir Victor Horsley made this statement
: (31)

     A case which is typical of hundreds of others is reported by Dr. Norman Kerr in which first was born a son and then a daughter, who both mentally and physically were excellent specimens of vigorous humanity. After the birth of the daughter, the father fell into habits of dissipation and rapidly became a habitual drunkard. He later had four more children of whom one was defective in mind, while the remainder were complete idiots.

     Victor Horsley subsequently quoted at some length from a German work by G. von Bunge: (32)

     I have made it my task to find out the causes of inability to suckle on the part of mothers, by means of statistical procedure. I first of all found it to be hereditary. When a woman is unable to suckle, it is almost without any

30. Bliven, Bruce, Genes and the Hope of Mankind, Smithsonian Report for 1941, p.301.
31. Horsley, Sir Victor, Alcohol and the Human Body, Macmillan, New York, 1908, p.294.
32. Von Bunge, G.: quoted by Victor Horsley, ref. 31, p.308.

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exception that the daughter cannot do so either, and the power seems to be lost for all the next generation. If we inquire of a woman who has suckled her infant successfully for nine months or more, whether her mother had equally been able to suckle, the reply is almost without exception in the affirmative. If we ask a woman who has not been able to suckle her infant for the full time, we find that previously, in the majority of cases (but not in all) her mother has not been able to do so.
    There are some cases, and these are not rare, where the mother having been able to suckle, the daughter has not been able to do so. Here we are close to the causes of the incapacity and shall find it in the father, and we at once encounter alcoholism [his emphasis]. In 78% of these cases it appears that the father is an immoderate drinker. On the other hand in those families where the mothers and daughters can suckle their infants, drunkenness is rare: in other words, that the daughter of a drunkard is in a position to be able to suckle her infant properly is a rare case.
     The rule is that if the father is a drunkard, the daughter loses her power of suckling.

     The significance of this is clear. Somehow the father is able to infect his children with the poison which he admits in excess to his own body when he over-drinks. The effect is so clearly marked that those children which he may raise before indulging in alcohol will be normal, and those which he sires afterwards will be defective.
     Of course it may be argued that eating grapes does not introduce alcohol into a man's body. Grapes are good for us! This is true; but it must also be remembered that we are already poisoned sufficiently that we suffer from all kinds of ailments and sicknesses . . . whereas Adam and Eve had bodies so perfectly balanced that they could have lived on indefinitely. The tiniest amount of this poison would have for them an effect equal to a strong dose for us today. Horsley remarked:

     In the case of grapes the micro-organisms which produce the right ferment to turn the grape sugar into alcohol, gather from the air and collect upon the outside of the grape. While there, they cannot attack the juice -- but as soon as the . . . skins are broken, the micro-organisms begin to grow and increase very rapidly, at the same time producing their ferment, which splits up the sugar in the grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, bubbles of which escape freely.

     We need only assume that Eve pulled the grapes off their stems and kept them for a while before she finally decided to eat them, in order to fulfill the necessary conditions for the introduction of some tiny percentage of alcohol into her perfect body, and probably even more by the time Adam had been persuaded.

33. Horsley, Sir Victor, ref.31, p.25.

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   Horsley commented on some experiments made by a Professor Rauber to examine the effects of alcohol upon plant life: (34)

     Using principally a 10% solution, he found that alcohol acts as a definite protoplasmic poison upon all the forms of cell life with which he experimented. All these investigations proved clearly that animal and vegetable protoplasm is harmfully affected by even very small quantities of alcohol. It is thus proved, in fact, to be very poisonous to living tissue, and to cell-life. The bearing of this upon the question of the effects of relatively small doses of alcohol upon the living cells of the human body is obviously important.

     The great doctor then elaborated this a little:

     These investigations are too long and complex to describe in detail, but we may state that experiment has shown how blood containing only one quarter of one per cent of alcohol diminished, within a single minute, the work being done by the heart. And blood containing one half per cent so seriously affected its working power, that it was scarcely able to drive a sufficient amount of blood to supply its own nutrient arteries. . . .  The characteristic of alcohol is that it causes a gradual waning of the metabolic activities of the body.

     When we find that the tiniest percentage of alcohol is able to have a marked effect on these much-abused bodies of ours, already poisoned enough that we can barely survive our three score years and ten, it is surely not surprising that the perfect bodies of Adam and Eve were so seriously poisoned with the first introduction of this dangerous substance.
     Sir Alfred Gould has told us:

     There is no question but that alcohol is a protoplasmic poison, which directly interferes with, and mars cell metabolism.

     This fact led Eugene Lyman Fisk to observe: (36)

     Can it be questioned that alcohol is one of the forms of poison which among other factors, is responsible for the gradual bodily impairment and decay which we unthinkingly ascribe to time.

     In other words, we are not actually growing old: we are being poisoned to death. And this is not the result of any mild intoxication arising from a moment of weakness when we yielded to a temptation to drink something which is not good for us, but to the fact that the poison was introduced into the stream of human life right at the very beginning; and in each generation has been passed on through the

34. Rauber, Prof.: quoted by Victor Horsley, ref.31, p.54.
35. Gould, Sir Alfred, quoted from The Tribune, South Africa, February, 1943, in The Sunday School Times, October 16, 1943.
36. Fisk, Eugene Lyman, Alcohol: Its Relation to Human Efficiency and Longevity, Funk and Wagnalls, New York, 1912, p.20.

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man, and not through the woman, so that quite literally death passes upon all men because one man sinned. The form of this initial disobedience has often been the target of much sarcasm by unbelievers, but it now appears that the simple record may be telling us a profound truth.
     A moment ago we asked three questions. It now appears that we have some answers. If grapes were plucked so that the skin was broken and the fruit kept for a while in this condition before being eaten, a small quantity of alcohol could be formed. There is evidence that alcoholism is inheritable, and it therefore seems that the germ plasm must be influenced by it. From the research carried out in France and elsewhere it appears that the taint is conveyed by the male and not by the female. If these things are true, they go a long way toward establishing the validity of our hypothesis regarding the nature of the forbidden fruit.
     There are some other considerations. Wine has from the most ancient times been a symbol for blood. It is so used by our Lord, and there can be no doubt that the cup which He drank when He came under our judgment was a cup of wine in this symbolic sense. There was a time when man offered a sacrifice to the gods of the sea before launching a new vessel. In these days we are accustomed to break a bottle of wine instead. There are passages in the Word of God in which the juice of the grape is spoken of as blood (cf. Genesis 49:11; Deuteronomy 32:14). It is not surprising. There is no doubt that the blood accelerates body corruption after death, because if it is removed the body corrupts much less rapidly. In this unique substance which visits every part of the body and thus infects the whole with itself there is evidently a corrupting agent.
     But there was One whose blood was uncorrupted (and consequently His body saw no corruption either); and the importance of the blood as a symbol of life and death throughout the whole of the Bible may be due in part to its peculiar function of conveying both life and death. Without it we cannot live; yet within it may lie the cause of our ultimate death.
     And this brings us to one final point. Throughout Scripture leaven evidently stands for the same basic cause of corruption and death. All types of Christ in the Old Testament as the Bread of Life employ loaves without leaven. Indeed, at the time of the Passover there was not even to be found leaven in the house.
     Jewish literature touches upon the use and symbolism of leaven at many points. In the Talmud it is written:

37. Babylonian Beracloth, 17.1.

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     Rabbi Alexander, when he had finished his prayers, said, "Lord of the Universe, it is clearly manifest before Thee that it is our will to do Thy will. What hinders that we do not do Thy will? The leaven which is in the mass."

     A glossary at this passage adds the explanation of the last sentence, "the evil which is in the heart." Plutarch said, "Leaven itself is born from corruption and corrupts the mass in which it is mixed." (38) The Word of God says, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
     The Latin word fermentum was synonymous with our word "corruption," and from it we derive the more familiar term "fermentation," for it is the very same principle. As a matter of fact, it is the yeast which is introduced into bread that largely gives it its taste, and the temptation of some bakers to add more in order to increase sales by making their bread more tasty, led in time to the passing of a law specifying that the content of alcohol must not be in excess of 0.5 percent. Fresh bread may actually have as much as 3 percent alcohol. And while we are speaking of words and their meaning, poisonous agents are termed "toxic agents" and an intoxicated man is simply a man who has been poisoned.
     Chemically speaking, ferment and yeast are the same substance; but yeast or leaven is more correctly applied to solids, while ferment is applied to both liquids and solids. Fermentation is in effect a substance in the state of putrefaction. In the Orient the lees of wine are sometimes used as yeast, thus showing that basically they are the same in their action upon any body into which they have been introduced. It is not surprising that God should make it so very explicit that no leaven should accompany any blood sacrifice (Exodus 23:18; 34:25). It may also be worth mentioning that the Hebrew root of the word for "leaven" means "to be agitated." This is the very antithesis of the. Hebrew concept of health which is, for them, synonymous with the word for "peace." Priests were strictly forbidden in Leviticus 10:9, 10 to drink wine or strong drink, when they went into the tabernacle, "lest ye die." In a sense, entering the tabernacle was like entering into the Garden of Eden, for there was the presence of God.
     Thus we seem to be led to the conclusion that whatever may have been the exact nature of the forbidden fruit, it was something similar to a vine, bearing a fruit which contained the requisites for the production of alcohol. In the present circumstances our bodies are already poisoned from generations of breeding and partaking of this fruit since the days of Adam and Eve, so that the addition of

38. Plutarch, Quastones Romanae, 109.6.

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alcohol, in bread for example, is not likely to cause any further damage. In a few instances it may even be proper to treat a poison with a poison, as Paul seems to have advised Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23). This, then, becomes temperance by divine appointment, rather than total abstinence.
     It may help to summarize very briefly the main points which have been made in this Paper. It is our contention that Adam and Eve were real people. They were placed in a Garden which contained a variety of trees providing them with shade and with food. Presumably their diet consisted not merely of fruits, but also of herbs, berries, and probably nuts. Two trees were singled out, the one a kind of medicine tree to keep them in perfect health, the other a forbidden tree by which their obedience and faith was to be tested. For those whose diet was vegetarian, a herbal "conditioner" seems most appropriate. Now that we eat meat, other forms of conditioning may be necessary. The forbidden fruit was either a grape or something similar, from which could be derived a poisonous juice whose action on the body was similar to that of alcohol. It is possible that Adam and Eve might have been unharmed by the forbidden fruit if they had eaten it without hesitation. The delay, occasioned by their doubts, allowed time for fermentation to begin, illustrating unexpectedly the truth that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. The poison entered their bodies and made them self-conscious physiologically for the first time. This poison reached the male seed whence it is passed on to all mankind at the time of conception, so that we all die. But the seed of the woman is not affected by it except through the seed of the man, thereby leaving the way open for the re-appearance by a supernatural generation of One who truly represented in His Body a second Adam. To make this completely possible, the woman was taken out of the man while Adam was yet unfallen, and her body distinguished from his by this one feature, namely, that she became a vessel capable of carrying the seed from generation to generation without corrupting it.
     It will be seen therefore that the record of the details of the creation of Adam and Eve and the manner in which death was introduced into human experience, is an essential part of the Faith, for it made possible the virgin birth and the appearance of One who was not subject to death as we are, and yet was truly representative. The exploration of these further relationships is the subject of the other Doorway Papers mentioned in the preface to this volume.

     We cannot conclude this chapter without acknowledging that some serious questions remain unanswered. It would not strengthen

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our case either to deny the reality of these questions nor to propose superficial answers. But it is not necessary to solve every problem raised by a theory before presenting the theory for serious consideration.
     Finally, we should like to reiterate the important fact that our theory has to do with the links between the Fundamentals, and not the Fundamentals of the Faith themselves. Whatever may be the fate of the links we have proposed, it is quite certain that the Fundamentals will remain.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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